Designer Andrew Howard fashions a fresh start for a young florida family
The laid-back coastal community in Jacksonville, Florida, that Susan Grattan calls home is about as far from the red carpet as you can get. That didn’t stop her from feeling a little starstruck the first time she met her designer, Andrew Howard, on the site of her soon-to-be-built abode. A former Atlanta resident, Susan had spent many afternoons in her youth walking dreamily through Howard’s parents’ prominent home store there. “I used to love Phoebe and Jim Howard’s place,” Susan says. “So by the time I finally met Andrew, it felt like I was meeting a movie star. I had never imagined I’d be able to work with him one day.”
And Howard didn’t disappoint. The two formed an immediate bond, laughing when they traded identical inspirational tear sheets and finding that they shared a common design goal: to create a casual, comfortable home for Susan’s young family that was at once elegant and completely approachable. “I’m really big on spaces that aren’t too stuffy,” Howard says. “We wanted for everyone to live in every room of the house—to be able to put down a drink or prop their feet up.”
Designer Andrew Howard outfitted the entry simply, with a round table and a plush rug from Capel Rugs, in order to allow the paneled walls to take center stage.
Photography: Lucas Allen
Produced by Elizabeth Beeler
Architects: Cliff Duch and Joseph Cronk, Cronk Duch Architecture, 9822 Tapestry Park Circle, Suite 201, Jacksonville, FL 32246; 904/302-9848, cronkduch.com .
Interior design: Andrew Howard, Andrew Howard Interior Design, Jacksonville, FL; 904/389-5100, andrewjhoward.com .
Landscaping: Sunscapes Landscape Design Inc., 8853 San Jose Blvd., Jacksonville, FL 32217; 904/730-4330, sunscapeslandscapedesign.com .
Dramatic Dining Room
It was the home’s architectural strength that allowed Howard to turn up the drama inside, with soaring ceilings in a variety of creative approaches—a wallpapered ceiling in the dining room, painted overhead beams in the living room, gravity-defying vaults in the master bedroom and family room—and lots of unexpected hits of color.
Chairs upholstered in orange velvet from Designers Guild surround a dining table from Sherrill Furniture. Anya Larkin wallpaper on the ceiling and the “Vivian” chandelier from Circa Lighting add drama.
Soothing Living Room
The living room got a much softer treatment, with pale blue walls that are subtly enhanced by a custom-made lavender rug. “I don’t like for every room to feel the same,” Howard explains. “I want each one to be unique and memorable.”
The striking rug, designed by Howard and fabricated by Glenn Carpet, sets the elegant tone in the space. A custom sofa, Sherrill Furniture chairs, and the “Dillon” lounge chair from Michael S Smith complete the look.
Living Room Details
Patterend pillows add flair to the blue-gray sofa from Mack Southern. On the dresser, coral in a bell jar is a nod to the nearby beach.
Colorful Breakfast Room
Howard used blue as a neutral throughout the house, but he was careful to reimagine the shade in each space to avoid predictability. That often meant pairing the popular hue with surprising complementary colors. In the breakfast room, he paired lacquered blue walls with punchy orange pendants and a funky pumpkin-hued pattern on the upholstered settee.
The Grattans are often busy entertaining friends and family, a task made infinitely simpler by the state-of-the-art kitchen with its oversized working island. “People pass by all the time on their way back from the beach,” says Susan, “and I love it. There’s nothing like standing in the kitchen making dinner for people I care about, especially when I’ve got such a great view out to the pool.”
Who wouldn't love a view like this?
User-Friendly Family Room
It’s Howard’s commitment to practicality that gives the house its family-friendly vibe. While the silhouettes of the furniture are sophisticated and at times a touch serious, he was careful to upholster everything in durable, heavily textured fabrics that stand up well to sandy feet and constant use. In the cozy family room, he introduced outdoor fabrics as well, fortifying the space—with its bifold glass doors that pull away completely for seamless indoor/outdoor living—against the elements.
The Baker sofas and a shapely wing chair are as chic as they are comfortable, while the Merida rug and curtains fashioned from Raoul Textiles fabric are both attractive and tough, standing up to this heavily trafficked area.
In the den, a “Zenke” pendant from McLean Lighting Works presides over a Lee Industries sofa, a vintage rattan chair, and a rug from Fibreworks. Howard had the window sashes painted Benjamin Moore’s “Soft Jazz” as a colorful complement to the water views.
“Tad and I agree upon most things when it comes to decorating,” Susan says of her husband, “so he was content to let me make most of the decisions from room to room. When it came to his office, though, he knew exactly what he wanted.”
While most of the house is light and bright, Howard worked with Tad to fashion a space with the feel of a real gentleman’s study, one that features dark-stained, wood-paneled walls with built-in shelving and overstuffed seating—the ideal setting for after-dinner cigars.
Soothing Master Bedroom
As much as she enjoys having visitors, Susan’s just as happy long after everyone has made their way home, when she finally has a chance to retreat to her master bedroom.
An Ironies chandelier with a quatrefoil design echoes the vaulted ceiling’s handsome geometric details, while upholstered pieces—like the custom bed and the tufted bench from Baker—soften those lines.
Master Bed Details
In this quiet spot, all of the vibrant colors and eye-catching prints from the rest of the house have been replaced with soothing neutrals, rich grass-cloth walls, and soft, decadent fabrics. Susan takes a moment to savor just how lucky she is. “It’s just the most peaceful place,” she says. “I can’t imagine ever wanting to leave.”
Large mirrors are inlaid into the paneling over the mahogany vanities to reflect as much natural light as possible from the room’s sole window, casting a warm glow on the Lefroy Brooks fixtures and Ann Sacks tile flooring.
In the boys’ rooms, like the study, a masculine aesthetic prevails, with graphic elements like thick, dark stripes on the rug in Henry’s room and crisp, geometric prints in Will’s. “The kids are still young—11 and 14,” Howard says, “but I tried to give the spaces a more mature look. They’re going to grow into their rooms, and Susan’s not going to have to redo them when they turn 18.”
Mimicking the look of shiplap boards, the bed from Stanley Furniture embraces a nautical motif, which is enhanced by the vintage ship artwork and the thick stripes of the Merida rug.
Both boys’ sleeping quarters were designed as near replicas of each other, complete with matching Urban Electric sconces, so there would be no cause for jealousy. The only real departures, however, are Will’s custom bed made with Christopher Farr fabric and his Bungalow 5 nightstand.
Etheral Guest Room
The bed and nightstands in the guest room were holdovers from the homeowners’ previous residence, so Howard used an ethereal shade on the walls and a Lee Industries bench to further the romantic feel.
Borrowing from Susan’s fond memories of summers she spent in the Hamptons, architects Cliff Duch and Joseph Cronk drafted a handsome Shingle-style structure in a decidedly Northeastern vernacular, which was a bit of a departure for the area.
Susan spotted the Summer Classics furniture from Frontgate while shopping with a friend and promptly fell in love, knowing the rope-accented pieces would look fresh and exciting on the patio when paired with her antique console and hanging lanterns from Circa Lighting.
“We loved that the Grattans were bold and courageous enough to do something a little more outside the box,” Duch says. “We were able to design the first gambrel roof I’ve seen in this neighborhood.”
The architects designed the rear facade of the home with extra-deep overhangs, outdoor pavilions, and a palm-tree-dotted courtyard to provide shade and relief from the hot Florida sun. The landscape design is by Sunscapes.
Susan and Tad Grattan with their sons, Will and Henry.